Saturday, September 15, 2018

Abp. Job of Telmessos gets a tad bellicose

(Cerkvarium via RISU) - The process of preparing the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church is already at a practical level. This caused a lot of negative emotions from the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the UOC-MP, who accused the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Patriarch Bartholomew of “heresy of papism”, interfering in the affairs of other Local churches, and almost preparing a new pan-orthodox schism. Such aggressive allegations could not have been left without a response from the Mother Church — the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Cerkvarium is grateful to the Archbishop of Telmessos Job (Gecha) for providing detailed explanations on the most painful issues that concern Orthodox believers.

— The Moscow Patriarchate insists that autocephaly can only be requested by the canonical part of a Church, and everything else is “the legalization of the schism.” But all the latest autocephalies arose as a result of separation exclusively from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and this was very difficult and painful. Are there any recognized rules to who can ask for autocephaly, how and when? After all, the greatest experience in this matter – is in Constantinople.

— If you study the history of the Orthodox Church, according to texts and documents, rather than created myths and false historiography, it is evident that absolutely all modern autocephalies have been proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Even if we take the history of the Orthodox Church in Russia, we see that its autocephaly was self-proclaimed in 1448, when Moscow elected metropolitan Jonas independently, without the consent of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is interesting to emphasize that the Orthodox Church in Russia has never been given a tomos of autocephaly! In 1589-1590, Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II simply normalized the situation by raising this see to a patriarchal rank, while allowing the Moscow bishop “to be called” patriarch, provided that he would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch and consider him “as his head and protos”, as stated in the letter.

Later autocephalies that were proclaimed in the 19th and 20th centuries – all were proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate: the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Greece (1850), in Serbia (1879 and elevated to the a patriarchate in 1922), in Romania (1885 and elevated to a patriarchate in 1925), in Poland (1924), in Albania (1937) in Bulgaria (1945 and elevated to a patriarchate in 1961), in Georgia (1990) and in the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1998). Each of these proclamations was linked to a political factor and autocephaly was proclaimed as a way of ensuring the unity of the Church, within the interior of each of these states, as well as the unity between the Local Churches.

In addition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the history of the Orthodox Church, no other Local Church has proclaimed autocephaly. True, the Orthodox Church in Russia may claim that it proclaimed the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Georgia (1943), in Czechoslovakia (1951) and in America (1970), but these autocephalies were not recognized by the fullness of the Orthodox Church as the Orthodox Church in Russia does not have such a prerogative of providing autocephaly. Therefore, these three Churches themselves appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for providing tomoses of autocephaly. Over time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate normalized the situation by declaring the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Georgia (1990) and in the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1998).
— Is it possible to consider that the current difficult condition of separation of Ukrainian Orthodoxy is the result of the fact that at one time the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) ignored the appeal of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) of 1991 regarding autocephaly?

— In my opinion yes! If autocephaly was proclaimed in Ukraine immediately after the proclamation of its independence in 1991, it would have been possible to prevent 30 years of a painful and harmful schism, which began in 1989. And this was the position of the entire episcopacy of the UOC-MP, which was adopted immediately after the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence at its Council in November 1991: “the Council believes that the bestowment of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will contribute to strengthening the unity of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, to facilitate the elimination of the autocephalous split that has arisen, to oppose the Uniate and Catholic expansion, to reconcile and establish an agreement between the current opposing confessions, the unification of citizens of all nationalities living in Ukraine, and thus contribute to the consolidation of strengthening the unity of the entire Ukrainian people.” The signatures of all the bishops of the UOC-MP of that time follow this decision, without exception, including the Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna, Onuphriy, the present Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. Incidentally, they often forget (or deliberately cover up) that the so-called “Council of Kharkiv,” that elected Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of blessed memory as Metropolitan of Kiev in the place of Philaret (Denisenko), repeated this position, addressing the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexei II, with the following words: “We are confident that the vitally important issue of granting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church canonical autocephaly, with the help of God and the efforts of the new Primate, will successfully achieve the unity of the entire Ukrainian flock with a new energy, with a new force in the bright hope, that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the near future, will receive the desired canonical autocephaly.”

— The ROC constantly accuses Constantinople of the “heresy of papism”. But in the same Moscow Patriarchate, the doctrine of the “Third Rome” is very popular, according to which the ROC itself should take the first place in the Diptychs. What can Constantinople do with these imperial ways of the Russian Church?

— The theory of Moscow as “Third Rome” is not an ecclesiological doctrine, nor a prerogative of canonical (ecclesiastical) law. Elder (Starets) Philotheus of Pskov created this myth in the early 16th century. But the Orthodox Church does not live on the basis of myths. The history of the Orthodox Church does not know a ”first” and “second” Rome, but only the “old” (Rome) and the “new” one (Constantinople). There is no third Rome. The Orthodox Church lives, apart from the Holy Scriptures, on the basis of the doctrine and canons of the Ecumenical Councils. It is clearly and evidently indicated that only these two historical sees received special rights and prerogatives at the time of the Ecumenical Councils. And who among the Orthodox today can claim to have supreme authority over the Ecumenical Councils to change their decisions? In fact, every Orthodox bishop, during the confession of faith prior of his episcopal consecration, promised to always adhere not only to the doctrine, but also to the ecclesiastical rules (canons) of the Ecumenical and Local Councils that bind him.

— Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev in an interview stated: “Unlike the Roman Church, in the Orthodox Church there has always existed a different system of local Orthodox churches, each of which has independence and no one is subordinate to the other”. And thus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is placed equally with the others. To what extent is this understanding of the system of local churches correct? What are the boundaries of the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the affairs (problems) of other local churches?

— Regarding the accusation by some people that Constantinople has fallen into the “heresy of papism”, it must be recalled that in the Holy Scriptures, the Apostle Paul compares the Church of Christ with the body in which Christ is the head and in which we are members (see Eph 5:23, 30; Col 1:18). But for us, the Orthodox, the Church is not something abstract, as for the Protestants, but something very concrete – a theandric organism, which is made up of concrete people. Therefore, according to the Orthodox Church law, the head of the local Church is a concrete person – the bishop. And according to the 34th Apostolic Canon, the bishops of the regional Church must recognize who is the first (protos), and recognize him as their head, and they must do nothing important without his knowledge. This rule has always been applied to the universal Church, because our Orthodox Church is one, it is the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”, and not a confederation of separate independent Churches, as we see in Protestantism. As far as the Church is united, one body – the body of Christ –, it has one head. The Church is not a multi-headed monster! Therefore, in the letter that raised the Moscow throne to a patriarchate in 1590, it was stated that the bishop of Moscow must recognize the apostolic Constantinopolitan throne as “its head and protos”, as the other Orthodox patriarchs do. To renounce this means not only to lose these privileges that were given to the see of Moscow by patriarchal acts of Constantinople, but also to depart from the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, in accordance with the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils and the Holy Scriptures.

— What special privileges or functions does the Ecumenical Patriarch have within the framework of coordination?

The Ecumenical Patriarch is not only one among the patriarchs in the Orthodox Church. He is not only “the first among equals”. Incidentally, the Latin formula “primus inter pares” is nowhere to be found in Orthodox Church law, which, on the contrary, refers to the “seniority of honour” (presbeia timês), indicating a certain hierarchy or at least some sort of order. Having this “seniority of honour” according to the sacred canons, the Ecumenical Patriarch, as the “head” and “protos” in the Orthodox Church, must ensure the unity of the Local Churches and coordinate them. This was evident in the 20th century in the preparation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church and in the coordination of the Local Churches in the inter-Christian dialogue at the universal level. Proceeding from its role to ensure the unity of the Local Churches and to coordinate them, the Ecumenical Patriarchate proclaims the autocephaly of new local Churches, as has already been said. Furthermore, according to canons 9 and 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the Ecumenical Patriarch has the right to accept appeals (ekkliton) from clerics and bishops (including those from other Local Churches). He also has the right to establish stavropegia (including those on the territory of other Local Churches).

— How can one believe the Spokesman of the ROC that it has massive support for its position in Ukraine among the primate and episcopate of other Local Churches? How can the statements of the heads of other Greek churches be interpreted regarding the fact that Ukraine is exclusively the canonical territory of the ROC? Is there a Pan-Orthodox consensus on this?

— In your question, the main thing is to distinguish two things: the first is the recognition of the UOC-MP, headed by the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, Onuphriy, and the second question is the jurisdiction over Ukraine. Regarding the first point, it is clear that among the three Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine at the moment (the UOC-MP, the UOC-KP, and the UAOC), only the UOC-MP is the only Church recognized by universal Orthodoxy as it is part of the Moscow Patriarchate, which received its canonical status from the Ecumenical Throne, which is in communion with all the local Orthodox Churches. The other two groups, since 1989, have split off from the Moscow Patriarchate and are therefore considered to be schismatic and are not recognized by any local Orthodox Church.

Regarding the second point, it should be emphasized that ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Ukraine belongs exclusively to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. When the Orthodox Church in Russia received the status of a patriarchate in 1589-1590, the Metropolis of Kiev (in the Polish-Lithuanian state, with its see in Kiev) remained in the jurisdiction of Constantinople. After left-bank Ukraine was annexed to the Moscow state after the Pereyaslav Council (1654), at a time when there were constant wars between the Turkish and Muscovite states (from 1676), and when, after the Kievan throne had remained vacant for a long time (from 1681), the patriarch of Moscow unlawfully ordained Gedeon Svyatopolk-Chetvertynsky at the request of Hetman Ivan Samoilovich (in 1685), then, in the end, in 1686, the patriarch of Moscow received from Ecumenical Patriarch Dionysius IV only the permission to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev, who was to continue to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch and remain his Exarch. It turns out that because of the political conditions the Metropolis of Kiev fell only into the administration of the Orthodox Church in Russia, but no transfer of the Metropolis of Kiev to Moscow happened in 1686, as it was emphasized by the tomos of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Poland (1924), which states that this autocephaly is given “by listening to the loud voice of the canonical duty, that the care of the Holy Orthodox Churches that are in trouble is laid on our Holy Ecumenical Throne; seeing that history also testifies in favour of the above (because it is written that the alienation from our throne of the Metropolis of Kiev and its dependent Orthodox Churches of Lithuania and Poland, and the same way, their attachment to the Holy Church of Moscow, from the very beginning was not carried out at all in agreement with legal canonical prescriptions, as well as not complying with what was jointly declared with regard to the complete ecclesiastical self-sufficiency of the Kiev Metropolitan, who was the exarch of the Ecumenical Throne).”

Therefore, when Ukraine is no longer a part of the Russian Empire (as well as of the Soviet Union), and when it endures an ecclesiastical schism for almost 30 years, through which millions of people are outside the canonical Church, and with which, to this day, the Orthodox Church in Russia (that is, the Moscow Patriarchate) is not able to correct it, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is obliged to take appropriate measures in accordance with its prerogatives in order to ensure ecclesial unity. At the same time, it should be emphasized that it does not interfere in the affairs of another local Church, but acts on his canonical territory – on the territory of the Kievan Metropolis.

— Regarding constant threats in breaking eucharistic communion. Is the Ecumenical Patriarch ready for such a form of protest against Ukrainian autocephaly from the ROC? Will it be supported by other local churches? Imagine that Ukraine gets autocephaly, and the ROC does not recognize it. What's next? As Kallistos Ware said, you cannot “abuse the Eucharist,” that is, blackmail the suspension of eucharistic communion. How can the break of eucharistic communion affect the ecclesiastical conscience of the Russian Church? Is it important in this case to know who is the initiator of such a breakup?

— I agree with Metropolitan of Kallistos of Diokleia regarding the “abuse of the Eucharist.” It is necessary to stop eucharistic communion because of important, dogmatic reasons, and not because of whims. Often, we hear from the mouth of the representatives of the Orthodox Church in Russia threats that a more terrible schism will happen than the one of 1054. Anyone who knows church history well knows that the so-called Great Schism of 1054, is also a great myth. The anathematization of each other, on the part of Rome and Constantinople, was the result of an unsuccessful attempt to restore eucharistic communion between the two Churches that had been interrupted at the beginning of the 11th century, due to the addition of the “filioque” in the Creed. Due to this addition, Constantinople suspected that Rome had changed the faith. The question was dogmatic. Therefore, incidentally, today the dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church is of a theological nature. Now, with regard to the issue of schism and autocephaly in Ukraine, everyone knows that the problem is not a theological one, and there is no need to blame anyone in heresy. Therefore, threats in breaking the eucharistic communion if Ukraine receives autocephaly is likely to be an abuse of the Eucharist.

— Moscow threatens that in the case of granting Ukraine autocephaly will a bloody massacre happen here? Does Constantinople have a plan for creating an autocephalous Ukrainian church peacefully and without war? How can the restriction of religious rights and freedoms of those who want to remain under the authority of Moscow be prevented, and how can the total repartition of church property be prevented?

— As has just been emphasized by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France in an interview, “The Ecumenical Patriarchate does not threaten and is not threatened. The Mother Church has shown that it cares about the reconciliation of disputes and the overcoming of schisms and in no case wants new ones.” The Ecumenical Patriarchate does not propose autocephaly in Ukraine as a weapon for war, but as a medicine to mend the ecclesiastical schism, which has lasted for almost 30 years. As we mentioned, the entirety of the episcopacy of the UOC-MP proposed this medicine to the Moscow Patriarch in 1991 and 1992. As we have shown, during the 20th century, the Ecumenical Patriarch, on the basis of his prerogatives, always ensured the unity of the local Orthodox Churches and proclaimed a line of new autocephalous Churches as a way to ensure the unity of the Church in the bosom of each new local church, as well as the unity between all the Local Churches. The role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is to serve the unity of the Orthodox Church.

— The Russian Orthodox Church insists that the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine is a blow to Pan-Orthodox unity. Does the refusal to take part in the Pan-Orthodox Council not undermine such unity?

— Today, in the Orthodox Church, they often talk about conciliarity, forgetting that there is no conciliarity without a primate. Unfortunately, many Orthodox people, in the struggle against papism, borrowed Protestant arguments, and completely rejected primacy. But the sacred ecclesiastical canons clearly state that there can be no synod (or council) without the protos, nor the protos without a synod. This is very well formulated in the 34th Apostolic Canon, which states that bishops must recognize the one who is the first (protos) among them and consider him the head (kephale) and do nothing important without his consent, but the former cannot do anything without the consent of all. “For in this way there will be concord (homonia), and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit.” But within the framework of conciliarity, the church canons emphasize that the first (protos) has the responsibility to convoke the synod (or council), and others have the duty to take part in it. For example, the 19th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council emphasizes that bishops who ignore the convening of a synod without reason should be corrected. Today, the refusal in the Orthodox Church to recognize the Ecumenical Patriarch as “first” and as “head” and to assert that the Orthodox Church is not one Church, but rather a certain confederation of independent local (or even national) Churches is contrary to the spirit of Orthodox ecclesiology and conciliarity, and therefore does not help to reach concord, to resolve conflicts and to cure schisms, but on the contrary contributes to the fragmentation of Orthodoxy and the aggravation of conflicts and schisms.


  1. He continually references the Council with 91/92 but forgets the fact that it was Philaret who blackmailed and threatened and bullied the hierarchs into agreeing with him, and then later Met. Onufry and others backed out and said they couldn't stomach such a tyrant anymore.

    How can you possibly end schism by granting autocephaly to the schismatics and rejecting, as he himself admits, the only actual Church in Ukraine under Met. Onufry? What selective history... if Ukraine was truly their territory, they would grant autocephaly to the actual Ukrainian Church and then let them receive the schismatics back as custom demands.

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  3. [O]n January 26th, 1589, eighteen months after Jeremiah had arrived in the Russian capital, he himself elevated Job, the Metropolitan of Moscow, to the dignity of Patriarch of all Russia. In the installation charter, signed by Jeremiah, the following was inserted:

    "Because the old Rome has collapsed on account of the heresy of Apollinarius, and because the second Rome, which is Constantinople, is now in possession of the godless Turks, thy great kingdom, O Pious Tsar, is the third Rome. It surpasses in devotion every other, and all Christian kingdoms are now merged in thy realm. Thou art the only Christian sovereign in the world, the master of all faithful Christians."

    This sentence was an almost verbatim reproduction of Philotheus' epistle to Basil III. A century earlier it was the daring prophecy of a devout monk; now it was a solemn declaration made by the highest authority in the Eastern Church.

    It is open to question whether Jeremiah himself fully understood the Russian text and shared the interpretation given by the Russians to the act committed by him. The events of the next century revealed that the Greeks and the Russians differed considerably in their attitude to Moscow's claims. But, in the sixteenth century, there was nothing as yet to disturb the peace between them. Jeremiah returned to Constantinople carrying with him generous alms and promising to secure the recognition of his action by the remaining three patriarchs of the East.

    Nicholas Zernov, The Russians and Their Church, 3rd Edition. p. 69

  4. Let's have a look at Abp. Job's ecclesiology...

    excerpted rom The Ecumenical Significance of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, a lecture by Archbishop Job of Telmessos delivered at the headquarters of the KEK in Brussels on May 30, 2016

    "Another very important and significant event that is often ignored not only by the antagonists of the participation of the Orthodox Church in the Ecumenical Movement, but by many Orthodox in general, is the lifting up of the anathemas of 1054 between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople at the end of the Second Vatican Council, on December 7th, 1965. As the Church historian and canonist Vlassios Phidas writes, “it is obvious, from a canonical point of view, that this ecclesial situation of the rupture of communion (akoinonesia) is clearly distinguished from the state of an accomplished schism, since, by the lifting up of the anathemas of 1054, we are now standing in the situation we were before their imposition”. Therefore, if the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople are now in a state of rupture of communion (akoinonesia), due to historical events and theological disputes, while both sides wish today to restore the full ecclesiastical communion, how can some dare, even through the voice of a local synod, not to acknowledge the Church of Rome as a Church, or to consider her members as schismatics, or even, as heretics?"

  5. Some people took umbrage at my use of the word bellicose. I'm not calling one side good and right while the other is nefarious (this wasn't a comparative analysis with what Russia is saying or doing). I'm simply pointing out that his interview wasn't laced with conciliatory words or calming phrases. If anything, much of what he said is sure to upset some people further. I have not - and probably won't - take sides on this matter, but in the calling of balls and strikes, this pitch (if not meant to bean the batter) was certainly high and tight.

  6. If one will permit me to be pedantic, how is it that we get the word "tomoses" in this translation? Surely that is the worst of all possible options. Either translate τόμος as edict and pluralize it as edicts or transliterate it as tomos and pluralize it as tomoi (τόμοι). Even "tome" and "tomes" would be better. But instead we get the worst possible option: tomoses. Seriously...

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    1. Schism hasn't happened but was mentioned because of the severity of what is happening and what is said to happen.

      This will justify the actions of the schismatics who have been destroying churches, taking possession of other churches, plundering goods, attacking the faithful, torturing priests, etc. And this is BEFORE a "legalization" of them by a tomos that the EP has no right to give a schismatic group who is not even part of the Church that was actually asked by the president of Ukraine rather than the actual Ukrainian Church who says they don't want it. So instead of listening to them, the EP decides to grant autocephaly to show he can "fix" the issue by justifying schismatics without following canonical procedure, and in the words of the schismatics themselves, will then give them enough backing to seize at least two of the great monasteries in Ukraine for their own purposes.

      So how can one have dialogue when Pat. Kyrill (and Met. Hilarion) went to the Phanar to discuss it and were simply told they are wrong and the tomos will be granted without them as the MP only had Kiev temporarily (distorting history and the canons by saying such) and refusing to even talk to the actual faithful Church on the ground led by Met. Onufry. So the EP then rejected his fellow Patriarch, refused to listen to the only Church in Ukraine that isn't schismatic who are supposed to be considered his brothers and sisters, and instead he is giving a supposed freedom and resolution to schismatics who have been known to essentially terrorize the Church and her faithful.

      So instead of immediately breaking off, they ceased commemoration as Met. Hilarion himself said, to make small (but significant) steps to hopefully show the EP what they are doing is horrendous and bring them to stop and actually dialogue instead of unilaterally deciding it.

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    5. David White,

      The Ukraine is a border land between "East" and "West" in all significant ways (i.e. ethnically/tribal, politically in the modern sense, religiously, economically, etc.) and has been for a thousand years. These folks who reduce this deep deep history and tension by endless repeating "canonical" and "schismatics" (as if they could even correctly define them if pressed) are but passionate pawns in this struggle. I say this in an effort to convey how I appreciate your irenic perspective.

      That said, I have a much more pessimistic view of this "process". I have many questions. Does the modern EP have the *moral* authority or *charisma* to lead this kind of process? It is one thing to have the letter of the (canonical) law behind you, and it is debatable that he does given the canons don't account for modern nation states, dissolution of the empire, east-west split - to say nothing of the fact that they have never actually been followed when it comes to autocephaly historically, but one has to have more than the letter to get anything significant done. Life and Christianity (says St. Paul) can not be reduced to the letter.

      Here is a man and an ancient Patriarchate, sitting in Istanbul in his long slow defeat at the hands of grand historical forces (Islam being primary)...who is he and what is the EP to come into this very old struggle and tension in the Ukraine and by a "process" somehow "fix" anything at all?? He can't even "fix" his own house! There is a real wisdom in the MP resistance to this particular expression of the EP's role in the modern Church.

      Besides that, behind your perspective is the assumption that an autocephalous church of the Ukraine is an unquestionable good. Why? The answer has to do with this long history of Empire, dissolution, split, nations states, etc. etc. IF this Imperial Church of the East is now no more (and no less) than a collection of national churches, well is that really what we want? IS that THE meaning of what it means to be "One, Holy, Catholic..."? If this is to work in the "traditional" Orthodox lands of the east, how in the world is going to work in "diaspora" of a place like North America ?

      To paraphrase Paul Simon, processes come and processes go, but what are we going to do about it - that is what I would like to know ;)

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    8. David,

      Thanks for your incisive thoughts! I am no "prophet", and I don't think you would claim to be either. I like the way you boil it down to process, humility, and "we deal with the world as it is". I judge Vladika Daniel, who is my bishop, to have many of the qualities to "do the right thing" in this situation. He certainly is the best bishop I have ever had and unlike many, is pastorally AND administratively/organizationally competent. All that said it is a situation that as you recognize is very deep. I also think that this situation is reflective of the larger picture - Orthodoxy is de facto, if not theologically/canonically, devolving into a "national church" situation and this has real consequences to the unam sanctam. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe the RC answer (universal jurisdiction in a single bishop of Rome) is the right one either. If tribe/nation is a "the buck stops here" ecclesiology, how does that work in a NA situation? As a modern, secular, plural people of various ethnic backgrounds (mine is Oklahoma ;) ) how do we form a "national" Church based on this pluralism, given that the de facto ecclesiology of the post-Empire Church assumes the unity of the tribe?

      So no matter what happens in the Ukraine with this particular "process", it is still the status quo of the post-Empire Church and the failure of a canonical structure designed for an Empire. This is the "defeat" of this Imperial Church of the East and it is ALL of Orthdoxy's defeat, even if the EP is a particular obvious anachronistic example of this.

      I won't argue against Vladika and the EP "doing good", though I think it will take a miracle. However, at the end of the day I believe everyone in a very real and deep sense loses no matter what the outcome as it will be the status quo no matter, and yet-another avoidance of the actual root of all this dysfunction.

      Of course Vladika and the EP and the MP are not big enough to "fix" any of that, no one but God we wait on the Lord.

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  8. so this guy is the head of what diocese???? oops forgive me he was removed and replaced wasn't he??? .....if so, his opinion is important why??????

    if so, should he have been reduced in rank??????? t'is a puzzelment

    we send out some very strange signals

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  10. When in Church history has a Patriarch(ate) claimed that schismatics could be brought back into the Church by a method other than their (the schismatics') repentance?

    The logic of getting everyone to the table to talk things over in hopes of overcoming a schism makes sounds like all the calls to "dialogue" about issues that the Church has a clear stance on, and has had for centuries.

    Exarchs meeting with people outside the Church meeting with schismatics and trying to get them back into the Church by any means OTHER than repentance sounds to me about as counterproductive as communing unrepentant sinners. It is aesthetically pleasing ("Look, we commune everyone") but one has to wonder what the point is...

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    2. David, I am not denying what you are saying. What deeply concerns me, however, is (what I understand from your words) the idea that a "historical record" somehow justifies autocephaly or some kind of intervention. The One Same Chalice has Christ in it, not Russian Christ or Ukrainian Christ.

      If their (understandable!) trauma because of the "historical record" is enough for someone to be UNABLE to see that it is Christ in the Chalice, how can they repeat the prayer (in whatever language) "I also believe that this is truly Your pure Body and that this is truly Your precious Blood?" If they can't accept the Body and Blood from a priest because of his nationality, is this not some new form of Donatism?

    3. As for "how can we bring them to repent," first let's remember that repentance is before Christ Himself, not before a priest, bishop or patriarch and his ethnic background.

      Second, I'd say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to repent ;) If I myself do not want to repent, what can you do? If I myself see no reason to repent, what kind of repentance can I offer?

    4. But I agree 100% — bringing "EVERYONE back to the One Same Chalice" is the ideal. But I am not a fan of fake repentance and fake union.

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  11. Forgive me for any comments that may have offended (and to the blog owner for making the discussion threat have gaping holes). This whole situation is terrible, and can stir up the passions so easily. I'm stepping away, and I would humbly advise others to do the same. Lord, have mercy.